Games: Playing “Persona 3” (PS 2)

20 Aug

I started to play Persona 3 back in July. It’s a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei RPG series and, like the other games in this “universe” I played so far, it’s very dark in tone and in terms of its story (it’s rated “mature”).

You’re playing an orphaned teenager (male) who’s transfered to a High School in the city of his childhood and who’s staying at a dorm together with three (at first) other students. Shortly after that, you’re attacked by a being the other three students call a “shadow” and it becomes clear that your transfer to the school and this dorm was no coincidence.

As I said, it’s a game with a dark story. You’re one of the few people who has the ability to experience the “Dark Hour,” a time between the times occurring each night at midnight. Most people don’t know about it (they spend that time in coffins!), but you and the other students at the dorm know what happens: your school turns into a huge tower called Tartarus which is filled to the brim with the beings called shadows (demons). You know about the Dark Hour because a being (a persona) lives inside you that is able to fight the shadows and therefore lets you experience the Dark Hour. To evoke a persona (to be able to fight), your character has to shoot himself in the head (see, I said it’s rather dark?). The story basically is that the shadows grow ever more restless, attacking humans and your character and his friends have to find out what’s behind the shadows, Tartarus and the Dark Hour; oh, and behind the contract you alone signed when you got to the dorm and the strange boy that keeps visiting you in your dreams.

Here’s a link to the official Persona 3 website’s description of the story.

English Trailer: Persona 3

So far, I like Persona 3. It reminds me of The Sims for the activities you can/must do during the day – going to school, taking quizzes, making (girl)friends – and of Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer’s Call in terms of fighting and persona evolution via fusion. My compulsive streak is in heaven with this game: there’s the fusion system and you can max relationship links and your abilities. I already know I screwed up with the relationship links because it took me some time to figure out how to best go about establishing and improving them and now I can’t max them all in one go. But then, I read that’s something you can only do with a very detailed instruction and there’s practically no way you can get it right on your own, so that helps. There are a few things that I’m not so happy about but aside from them, I have a lot of fun and I enjoy playing this game. And I’m sure there are some story surprises waiting. So good times ahead.

There’s an extended version called Persona 3: FES which so far (as so often) hasn’t been published in Europe. Apparently it’s scheduled for October 2008; but that’s something I’ll believe when I see the game in a store.

Now I’m off to play some more.


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